Between Two Halves

I never imagined that what began as a simple conversation with a brother from my local church about the teaching's of Jesus on "moving a mountain" would turn into an obsessed, months long research project for myself; but it did. After discussion with this brother, I sat down to write him a letter in hopes of further and better explaining the concepts I had raised about the topic during our discussion. However, when attempting to write this letter I was confronted with some "lose ends" in the scriptures that I couldn't account for, and I became obsessed with finding their answers. This was especially the case when I found out that great men like Matthew Henry, the famed bible commentator, as well as bible scholar Gary Demar, had struggled themselves with understanding the Word on a topic related to this teaching of Jesus; that topic being a prophecy from the book of Zechariah that makes mention of Mount Olivet being divided in two.

As a result of these discoveries, I felt compelled and led by the Spirit to dive into the scriptures in search of an understanding that had yet, at least per my knowledge, to be revealed from other scholars. After months of research, I do strongly believe that, by God's grace, I was led to the correct and intended understanding of Zechariah's prophecy; an understanding which I have detailed extensively in the academic paper presented below. In it, I have labored to reveal what will hopefully be recognized as a conclusive end to the search for an understanding of these verses, which have historically been called "vexed" and "dark and hard" to understand. I hope that my labors in this endeavor will be of great joy and benefit to the Lord's sheep; those whom recognize His voice and are nourished by truths from His Word.

Click the button below to download the publication.

Click here to jump to a "Too Long; Didn't Read" (TLDR) section, which is a short description of the conclusions of the publication for those not interested in reading it in entirety. Though, for full appreciation of the significance, depth, and beauty of the truths now revealed, I do recommend an attempt at reading the publication.

TLDR

The thesis of the publication is centered around revealing the historical mystery as to why Mount Olivet is described as being "split in two" in the following verses from Zechariah 14:

“On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east,
and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley,
so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.
5 And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal.
And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.
Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.”
(Zech. 14:4-5, ESV)

Bible scholars and commentators have primarily sought to establish fulfillment of this prophecy in Jesus' teachings when cursing the fig tree, or in the tearing of the veil at the death of Christ in his crucifixion. However, it was perceived that these explanations of fulfillment do not line up with the details discussed in Zech. 14. Instead, the following is argued:

1) Zechariah uses imagery previously given in Ezekiel 1 & 11 to reference Mount Olivet as the place from which the "glory of the Lord" will be shown to the Israelites. This is established through prophetic imagery in Ezekiel regarding the Lord's throne resting on Mount Olivet, on which Christ is established after completing his atoning work through his crucifixion (per the New Testament). In using this imagery from Ezekiel, Zechariah is setting forth Mount Olivet as a symbol representing God in human form, Christ, being established in glory on his throne.

2) Zechariah uses covenant imagery from prior passages of scripture to symbolically establish Mount Olivet being "split in two" as a picture of Christ's bodily sacrifice; his flesh being made a "curtain" through which his elect people must pass through into covenant relationship with him (Hebrews 10:19-20). This imagery is substantiated with the following verses from the Old Testament that portray such covenant arrangements being made between God and Abraham/ the Israelites:

“And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other
When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold,
a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.
 
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, 
“To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,

(Genesis 15:10,17-18)

“And the men who transgressed my covenant and did not keep
the terms of the covenant that they made before me,
I will make them like the calf that they cut in two and passed between its parts
—the officials of Judah, the officials of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, the priests,
and all the people of the land who passed between the parts of the calf.”
(Jeremiah 34:18-19)

Clearly displayed in these verses is animal sacrifices being split into pieces and arranged such that God, or his people, pass between the pieces into covenant relationship. Symbolically, this is exactly the image we are given in Zech. 14:4-5 with Mount Olivet being split in two and God's people fleeing into the valley to the city Azal.

In Hebrew, "Azal" means "reserved" or "set apart"; in using this name, Zechariah's words characterize those who flee into the valley of Mount Olivet as God's reserved people: his elect. All-in-all, this imagery is that of a new covenant being inaugurated with the people of God; established by his people passing through the "curtain" of the flesh of the covenant sacrifice: Jesus Christ, the Son of God. These covenant realities are displayed prophetically through the use of Mount Olivet as a symbol of the "glory of the Lord", as previously established in Ezekiel. The glory of Christ is found in his status as the "Lamb who was slain" (Rev. 5:12); therefore, Zechariah is clearly imaging Mount Olivet as representative of Christ being slain, through which he established in glory upon his throne.

One major outcome of this novel interpretation of the passage is that Mount Olivet is clearly taught to be the geographic location of the crucifixion of Christ. Historically, and into modernity, this topic is much debated; but now, if the truth alleged in this thesis is recognized as correct, it stands as revelational proof that the location of Christ's crucifixion would be upon the mountain. As discussed in the publication, other's have arrived to such a conclusion through alternate means, but now Zechariah's prophecy can hopefully be recognized as directly establishing this fact.

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